Lots of memories have been flooding my mind lately. And they are memories that are 10 years old. It is kinda strange and crazy that I can have something significant and life changing that happened 10 years ago.... and I still think about it almost every day. And thankfully, I recorded many, many things in this little journal.
Isn't it cute!?!? I love the plane. And the little strap that keeps it closed and secure. I can't remember where I bought it. Maybe Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. I chose this journal because I was starting an adventure that was beyond my imagination.
Here is a little background on me.... I love to read. All sorts of stuff. It ends up that most of the stuff I like to read is historical fiction. I also LOVE historical romance. I love anything set in England or Scotland. When I was in middle school, I started a lot of my own short stories and they were all based around things like English orphans, a governess, or a British benefactor. Some of my favorite books were Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. And of course, there was some smut that had authors who were not notable, but the characters often traveled "The Continent."
In addition to my love of reading, my family loved to travel. As a result, by the time I was 22, I had been to 41 states, Mexico, Canada, The Bahamas, and Jamaica. (As a side note, the only states I still need to go to are Hawaii, Oregon, North Dakota, and Minnesota.)
With all of that said, the opportunity to spend a semester in Europe was really a dream come true for me. Thankfully, our professor required us to keep a journal. We all grumbled about it (and were super upset when he told us that we had to turn them in and he was going to read them *GASP*). But there are no words to describe how thankful I am that I can now go back and read my inner thoughts, stories about my friends, and facts and tidbits about where we went during those three months.
My first entry was on January 18, 1999. My goal this spring is to read every entry exactly 10 years later. I think it will be a great walk down memory lane. Here is an entry in February '99. I loved to pick flowers here and there and press them. I thought this looked really cute.
I loved all the food I ate in England. A lot of fish and chips, pasties, sandwiches, jacket potatoes. I loved "Toad in a Hole" and "Yorkshire Pudding" (which isn't pudding, it is a type of yeasty roll). And the fact that pretty much every meal ended in "pudding." Not Jello pudding, but dessert! Apple and Blackberry Crumble was my all time favorite! YUM! While in Cambridge, we stayed at The Hamilton Hotel. They served us breakfast every day and many evening meals were served there. I always had Raisin Bran and cheese toast. And I learned to drink cream in my hot tea while there. I started out drinking cream in my tea because it was so dang hot! But then, I decided that it was like liquid amber. And I loved it!
At some point, despite so much good food, (no, I never had haggis) I did start craving some of the great staples of a Southerner's diet. So at the back of my journal, I started a list. I would often take suggestions so these items are just MY ideas. For instance, I have NEVER craved KC Masterpiece chips or pretzels. I am not that kind of girl.
And, I never really ate at Outback and still don't eat there very often. So I don't think that was my suggestion. Hot Ham and Cream Cheese Bagel? Not me, either. Things that were most definitely my cravings? Mac N Cheese, Sweet Tea (which I gave up 5 years ago), Cracker Barrel, Gardner's Market, MAYFIELD MILK!, cookie dough, white shoepeg corn, Perkits. There is also a second page (which I didn't take a picture of). On that page is the item that I couldn't get enough of: BANANA POPSICLES! Oh man! Those were yummy!
At the back of my journal, I had this random statement written. I think I know who wrote it, but I am protecting the innocent here, people. But it is so funny that I just have to show you. I think that my *friend* wrote this when were were traveling in Scotland. Our home base was Cambridge but every week or two we would make a side trip. Once we went to Wells. And then Wales. York and Oxford were also side trips. We had about 5 days in The Lakes District. Then on up to Edinburgh. I am guessing that *someone* wrote this during that long trip.
I hear ya, girl! Traveling can be rough on your insides! And I love that it is written forever in my journal. And now, it will be documented forever on these World Wide Webs. Maybe one day, when I am old(er) and gray(er) I won't remember the friend who wrote this in my journal. But today I still remember. And I love that I was able to share this trip with you! I would love to tip my glass and say Cheers! to all the fun and all the memories.
As a matter of fact, to all 21 of you who traveled together. Thanks for all the fun/strange times. I learned a lot about friendships, life, and the world. So next time you are at a Firkin Brewery, raise a glass for me! I promise that the next time I drink a whole bottle of wine (maybe this weekend, in fact) I will think of you!